The annual Meeting Professionals International (MPI) World Education Congress (WEC) ended on Tuesday, July 23, and brought together an estimated 2,000-plus attendees to the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center in Las Vegas. This year’s theme, “Transformation,” was a recurring message throughout the conference and its more than 60 different educational sessions for WEC attendees.
During the closing general session, newly appointed MPI President and CEO Paul Van Deventer told the audience, “I’m exhilarated … you’ve exceeded all of my expectations. We said we’d challenge WEC and transform it and we asked you for your feedback. Your feedback has been immediate and plentiful. We’ve clearly provoked you and inspired you. This is your association and our success starts at the chapter level and with each an every one of you.” He ended his speech by saying, “The future of MPI looks bright.”
Newly elected MPI Chair for its Board of Directors Michael Dominguez also spoke during the closing session, saying that “As an industry, our lives have been changed dramatically over the past few years. We’ve emerged stronger, smarter, and more united.” He added that MPI is committed to working with other industry organizations and partners to ensure the success of the entire meeting industry, and to devoting itself to its three core pillars: community, marketplace, and professional development.
The closing keynote speaker, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, shared her personal and professional stories of challenges and reaffirmed Dominguez’s final message: “The better that some of us do, the better all of us do,” she said.
Following the closing session, approximately 1,500 attendees came together for a unique corporate social responsibility project facilitated by training solutions and teambuilding company Odyssey Teams. The Helping Hands project enlisted WEC attendees to build, piece by piece, an estimated 250 prosthetic hands that will be distributed to victims of land mines across the globe.
On July 22 MPI also took time to recognize outstanding leaders and members in the meeting industry at its RISE Awards Luncheon. Award recipients included Maria Meschi, an MPI Indiana Chapter member (Young Professional Achievement); speaker and author Scott Friedman, CSP (Meeting Industry Leadership); Miguel Neves, MPI United Kingdom and Ireland Chapter vice president of finance (Member of the Year); and eight MPI Canada chapters (Community Achievement in Knowledge and Ideas).
The next MPI WEC is set to take place from Aug. 2-5, 2014, in Minneapolis.